Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin - My, My, What a Tangled Web We Weave

Pros: So many startling twists and turns, you may even gasp aloud once or twice...
Cons: Why is no one smart enough to listen to their animal??

The Bottom Line: This book is the best so far (though I've still got two books to go and two to wait for). And yes, I did go, "Oooh!" aloud at one point.

Welcome to the third installment of George R.R. Martin’s series, A Song of Fire and Ice (no people, the series is not called A Game of Thrones. Just the first book). And I think this is the most intriguing one yet. I’m not even really sure I can do a summary because there’s just so much going on. But as Inigo Montoya once said, “Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up:”

Joffrey still sits on the throne. Daenerys seeks to build her army in order to march West. Lady Catelyn runs out of hope to see any of her children alive again, even as Robb continues to succeed against his enemies. Tyrion is about to discover certain things – including who now holds the office of Hand of the King. Arya seeks to return to her mother, but so many obstacles are still in her way. Bran travels north in hopes of finding the one thing that he believes can help him – the three-eyed crow. And Jon Snow must survive to return to Castle Black and stop the incoming hoard of Wildlings and perhaps even worse than them…

Just like in the last books, each chapter is given to a different character, and this time we are offered a new perspective:

~Lady Catelyn
~Sansa Stark
~Arya Stark
~Tyrion Lannister
~Davos Seaworth
~Jamie Lannister
~Bran Stark
~Jon Snow
~Daenerys Targaryen

This book is literally filled with shocks and surprises. Stuff that will make you go, “Oh man, that sucks,” and other things that will blow your mind, even if just a little bit. And the punches just kept coming, like watching a mixed martial arts fight and seeing the best fighter out there get hit over and over again by the fighter who was never supposed to win. I’d love to tell you some of them, but there’s just no way I’m willing to spoil any of these surprises. One of them actually made me say “Ohhh” out loud while in the break room at work. I managed to predict only one person’s death spot on. That one I saw coming, but it was still pretty awesome when it happened, mostly because I didn’t expect it to happen in quite such a fashion.

In the past I’d occasionally get engrossed in a particular character’s story and flip ahead to skim a few pages. Not the case here. Oh no. Instead, I’d want to know what happened too much I would skip ahead to their next chapter and freaking read it right then and there. No matter that I would have to backtrack 80 pages once I was done to get back on track. Sometimes I’d even skip ahead a few more chapters to poke around in a few characters’ futures. Maybe I ruined some surprises that way, but I really do not care. Ha! I was just having too much fun reading. I must say that this book is definitely my favorite so far. The battle at the end of Clash of Kings was the meat of the meal, but this was most definitely the dessert. And I freaking love dessert.

So eat up kids, it’s delicious. And we writers say, “Kill your darlings,” which means don’t be afraid to kill characters even if you love them. I don’t know how much Martin loves some of his characters, but hot damn if that man isn’t afraid to kill them off! I’m looking forward to diving into the next book. I can see why people were getting all impatient for the next book to come out. Initially I was fine with waiting, letting the library set me in a long line of 80 or more people to get the book….but this time I told my sister that when she came over for Christmas to bring A Feast for Crows because I needed to get in there and find out where everyone is going and where those paths will take them. And people are going interesting places. Every character leaves off on a highly interesting note.

Granted, this series still isn't for everyone, and I admit, there are times when I lose track of people and who they ought to be, but I'm not as mired in that issue as I used to be. Besides, if you've managed to make it this far in the series, I doubt you're going to turn back now. Not after this one anyway.

Let us end on some important bits: Always listen to your direwolves, never leave the house without dragonglass in the winter, guys who obey anything will obey anything, never underestimate anyone, and there are a lot more undead people walking around (and I’m not walking wights and the Others) that ought to be. My, oh my.


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "To Hell and Back" by Brian Tyler

No comments:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...